Jing Xin Collection of Poems by Chen Zi


This manuscript collection contains poems by Chen Zi (1683–1759), a native of Yuyao, Zhejiang Province, and a famed poet and calligrapher during the Kangxi and Qianlong periods of the Qing dynasty. Though twice recommended for official positions, Chen declined to serve the Qing court. The poems in the work were copied and preserved by his friends during the Qing literary inquisition. Literary inquisition in China had a long history, but during the Qing dynasty such official persecution of intellectuals, commonly called wen zi yu (imprisonment for writing), was particularly rampant. To prevent opposition from intellectuals and silence them, the authorities interpreted the meaning of an individual’s works according to their own rules and sought any single word or sentence for necessary evidence to persecute. Both Chen’s preface and a foreword by Zheng Yiting are imbued with sorrow for the change of dynasty, grief over literary inquisition, and laments over having been born in an inopportune time. The work has six juan, the first five containing 30 poems and the sixth one entitled Jiu jiu yue fu (Poems written in yue fu style), with references to historical events in the Ming dynasty. The poems are arranged chronologically dating from the 52nd year of Kangxi (1713) to the 12th year of the Qianlong reign (1747).

Last updated: March 18, 2015